View Full Version : What does a Battle Spellcaster mean to you, & what does it need?

2012-11-20, 05:41 PM
So, a magic user that uses spells in combat, seems like it should be pretty straight forward, but there aren't that many classes for it that are

A: Balanced, Either they are heavily nerfed wizards/sorcerers or Lighting Warriors
B: Competent, does it do what it actually says it does? Can you make a better battle spellcaster playing an optimized something else? (Wizard trumps warmage)
C: Uniqueness & Fluff, does it feel right? Does it actually make sense in the world? When you see it do you recognize it?

So what does a "Battle Spellcaster" "War Mage" "Warcaster" "War Wizard" "Battle Mage" "Blast Master" "Spell Knight" etc. mean to you? What should it's limits be? What are it's strengths? Should it be versatile? Should it be blasting only? etc.

What's your thoughts?

Craft (Cheese)
2012-11-20, 05:54 PM
I've actually found that "This character uses spells, and only spells, to do what they need to do" to be a source of a lot of problems. If you design a magic system based around the assumption that casting is only, at most, a small part of a character's toolkit, things just turn out better.

Dr Bwaa
2012-11-20, 05:54 PM
I have a Wizard/Incantatrix/Abjurant Champion who pretty much fits the bill here. She uses Greater Luminous Armor and a homebrewed Shield spell (but normal Shield works as well) to keep her AC up; combined with miss chances and so on she can survive close combat despite all those d4 hit dice. Then it's just a matter of having the right buffs persisted (incantatrix, remember) and a decent weapon. It's really funny if you can get in a position where you get to 1v1 another spellcaster--just turn on your AMF and go to town on them with Actual Weapons (tm). You can pretty much do the opposite against melee-types who outmatch you; cast Ironguard and watch their swords (even magic swords) pass harmlessly through you.

Or polymorph into a dragon and clean house.

The only issue is that it's basically a death wish trying to build to this point from lower levels.

2012-11-20, 06:32 PM
That's a gish, not a battle spellcaster. I don't want to offend. But lets have draw the line at melee, the spellcaster in question shouldn't want to resort to melee as it's go-to. The Magus/Duskblade/countless gish builds, do that just fine. Sorry for not being clear :(

2012-11-20, 07:49 PM
Well, I'd define a Battle Spellcaster as a person who casts spells to win battles.

... Makes sense to me.

2012-11-20, 07:56 PM
I see a gish as primarily a warrior of some description that uses spells to help him fight.

I see a battle spellcaster as a caster that likes close range spells, touch spells and battlefield control spells as well as blasting spells but with little to no out-of-combat spells available. They may have buffs/debuffs but they do not have heals.

So most of my Battlecasters focus on evocation, abjuration and some conjuration with a lesser focus on transmutation and necromancy and very little illusion, enchantment or divination.

2012-11-20, 11:33 PM
I'd say if you have something called a Battle Spellcaster or whatever, that implies that other spellcasters are not able to use their spells in battle or are not able to do it as well as the Battle Spellcaster. So if you have a D&D Wizard, you really have no need for a Battle Spellcaster, but, if your wizards deal in magic which is less applicable to combat, Battle Spellcasters will be necessary.

2012-11-21, 01:06 AM
The epitome of a battle caster for me is a build I affectionately call a "Cleric in a barrel". It's basically a Mystic Theurge with a level in Knight. And it is far more of subtlety mage than a blaster. That is, if you consider two tower shields and mountain plate subtle. The build is basically to make the mage himself untouchable, and with a few tricks and some ample time, buff your party members to make them nearly as unstoppable as you. It is, however, prone to the martial side, but only in so far as hitting people in the face with shields is martial. One of its most potent offensive features is to dose people in water, then desecrate it. It's a fun build, if not a bit absurd.

And to blow Kane0 out of the water, instant conversion for heal. :smallcool:

But if I build a blaster, I usually go with just an optimized Sorc or Favoured Soul. Also Warlocks are always fun.

Dr Bwaa
2012-11-21, 09:59 AM
That's a gish, not a battle spellcaster. the spellcaster in question shouldn't want to resort to melee as it's go-to.

Well in that case, as some others have mentioned, I don't know what you're looking for. Do you just want something that mechanically has a class other than "Wizard" that does wizardy things? A mage that specializes in large-scale wars? It just doesn't seem like there's much of a reason not to simply be a wizard (or cleric, or what have you), if the requirement is "be a wizard who prepares combat spells".

Of course if you don't mind badly-written but incredibly cool 3rd-party 3.0 classes, there's always the Chaos Mage from Mongoose Publishing (Encyclopedia Arcane: Chaos Magic). That class does a great job at blasting/all kinds of other effects just by default, but it is a lot of work for the GM and, as I mentioned, not super balanced.